Features of a PhD in Creative Writing
A PhD Creative Writing thesis will primarily consist of your own original creative work. The creative element could be a novel, a manuscript of poems, a collection of short stories, a play, or another form of creative output, as required by the project. Alongside this you'll be expected to write a critical analysis of the work, and the context in which it is situated, in order that it can be considered an academic project of PhD standard.
A PhD thesis should not normally exceed 100,000 words in length. It is expected that the creative element would usually comprise 50,000-70,000 words of this, dependent upon the format of the thesis. The analysis will normally be 15,000-30,000 words in length.
See the full list of supervision areas in the school
The school also has links to eminent writers through a number of Honorary Professorships, Honorary Lectureships (such as novelist Alison Moore, poet, Ruth Fainlight and screenplay writer Billy Ivory). The School is also home to the literary journal in letters, The Letters Page, edited by Professor of Creative Writing, Jon McGregor.
The school also has links to eminent writers through a number of Honorary Professorships (such as Jon McGregor and 'The Letters Page' ), and Honorary Lectureships (such as novelist Alison Moore, poet, Ruth Fainlight and screenplay writer Billy Ivory).
Applying for a PhD in Creative Writing
Your application should demonstrate how your project will satisfy the requirements above, and the qualifications you have that will enable you to undertake the project.
You will therefore be required to provide a PhD proposal with your application, which will set out how your project will be structured.
A sample of your creative work is also required.
Key Elements of a PhD Proposal
A PhD proposal should be a minimum of 1000 words. There is no upward limit for proposals, although successful proposals that have concisely covered the points above are often not much longer than about 2000 or 3000 words. This will vary depending upon your proposed project.
|Content and methodology
The proposal should be detailed and focused. The basis of a good proposal is usually a set of questions, approaches, and objectives which clearly outline your proposed project and what you want to accomplish. The proposal should also clearly demonstrate how you are going to accomplish this. A key component of this is being able to show you are extremely familiar with the work in your field and how it will guide your project, including:
- the methodologies that you will use in your project (as appropriate);
- the necessary resources and facilities you will need to carry out your project.
Find out more about how to write a research proposal.
|Your background and successes to date
What is unique about your project? Potential supervisors will be looking for evidence of your ability to date, and an indication that you will bring your project in on time.
You should therefore include:
- a summary of any further research experience, in addition to your academic qualifications.
This could include work undertaken at undergraduate or masters level, or outside the educational system. It should also be reflected in your referee choice - we will expect you to have chosen referees who can comment on your preparedness for PhD study and the proposed project you have chosen;
- an indication of a member of academic staff in the School you would like to work with (see our Staff Profiles).
Any additional evidence (previous experience, publications, performance, and other outputs etc) will also be considered.
Our standard start date is 1 October.
We also offer start dates of 1 November, 1 January, 1 February, 1 April, and 1 May.
A PhD in the School of English will comprise mainly independent study, with supervision meetings spread throughout the year. There are no taught credits attached to a PhD, although it is compulsory for full-time students to attend the Arts Faculty Researcher Skills training programme. Some PhD students also choose to audit masters modules taught by their supervisors where appropriate, however this is not compulsory, and would not involve any formal assessment.
All PhD students take part in annual review assessments to ensure they are progressing satisfactorily. This usually consists of the submission of a written report. For full-time students, the first year is probationary (first two years for part-time students), and the first year annual review involves a viva with an independent internal assessor.
Part Time / Distance Learning Opportunities
The School of English does not have a formal distance learning provision for PhD study. If you are applying to undertake doctoral research in the school without being based on campus, we would ask that you let us know at the earliest opportunity, so that we can discuss whether you will be able to meet the school and University's requirements for research students.
It is also recommended that you consider the following requirements:
Registration and induction
If you are not based in Nottingham, you would usually be registered as a part-time student.
The University and School of English run a week of induction programmes before the start of term each year (usually the last week of September), which provides new students with the opportunity to meet key members of staff in the school. There are also events which help you to get started with IT access and accessing library materials. You would be expected to attend this programme.
Supervision meetings should be a simultaneous meeting between you and your supervisor(s), which may include face-to-face meetings, but can also include Skype, video-conference sessions, or the use of other packages which enable contemporaneous dialogue between the parties involved. We would expect you to have your first supervision meeting and at least one supervision a year face-to-face.
All research students in the School of English must attend the compulsory core part of the Arts Faculty Researcher Skills Programme (see Course Research Support, below). Most sessions are delivered on campus and in term time, however the University has a substantial amount of material available electronically and online. You may also wish to refer to our student handbook to get an idea of what studying away from campus might be like.
The School of English PGR Symposium takes place annually in May. Whilst not compulsory for part time students, you would be expected to attend one symposium over the period of your registration.
Wherever possible we would expect your viva examination to be face-to-face.